Born in British India on June 25, 1903, novelist, essayist and critic Eric Arthur Blair will forever be known by his pseudonym, George Orwell.
Sometimes called the conscience of a generation, Orwell (1903-1950) is best known for two novels: ‘Animal Farm’ (1945) and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949).
Orwell took up writing at an early age, reportedly composing his first poem around age four. He later wrote, “I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued.”
His works, deeply political, with an intelligent and satirical writing, denounce the dangers of totalitarian regimes and the defense of social equality. He is considered one of the most important British writers and a reference in democratic culture.
He was a man of strong opinions who addressed some of the major political movements of his times, including imperialism, fascism and communism.
Despite Orwell’s disdain for the BBC during his life, a statue of the writer was installed outside the BBC in London. An inscription reads, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” The eight-foot bronze statue, paid for by the George Orwell Memorial Fund, was unveiled in November 2017.
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
CAUSE: FIGHT AGAINST ADVERTISING AND FAKE NEWS
Orwell is well known for his dedication to freedom of speech and objective truth, and his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is often used as a lens through which to view the fake news phenomenon.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ORWELL AND HIS WORK?
We recommend reading Orwell’s two most famous books. Both books, published toward the end of Orwell’s life, have been turned into films and enjoyed tremendous popularity over the years.
‘Animal Farm’ (1945)
Animal Farm was an anti-Soviet satire in a pastoral setting featuring two pigs as its main protagonists. These pigs were said to represent Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. The novel brought Orwell great acclaim and financial rewards.
‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949)
Orwell’s masterwork, Nineteen Eighty-Four (or 1984 in later editions), was published in the late stages of his battle with tuberculosis and soon before his death. This bleak vision of the world divided into three oppressive nations stirred up controversy among reviewers, who found this fictional future too despairing. In the novel, Orwell gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person’s life, down to their own private thoughts.